Alice wasnâ€™t the only one with the Adventures in Wonderland: 25-year old Abdullah Saeed has been on an adventure of his ownâ€¦Â Adventures in Pork. Saeed was recently introduced to the world of pork, and now has been exploring â€œeach part of the animal” while recording each experience in his hit blog. Since pork consumption is technically a taboo according to Islam, SAPNA decided to explore the inner workings of Abdullah Saeed’s brain… past the guilt, curiosity, and satisfaction â€” all on a full stomach.
SAPNA: So, tell me a little bit about yourselfâ€¦what do you do other than maintain your blog?
AS: I’ve been freelance writing since I graduated from college in 2006. I’ve done a lot of music writing and I’ve worked on a number of music projects of my own. I DJ around Philadelphia as Blame the Kid with another DJ named Paulito. I’m also in a band called Sunny Ali & the Kid.
SAPNA: Why â€œadventures in porkâ€? Were you bored one day and decide to just go for it?
AS: Not at all. I did a lot of thinking before making the decision to eat pork. At the time I was pondering many aspects of my beliefs and abstaining from pork was one of them. I seized this moment and turned it into an opportunity to write something interesting.
SAPNA: How does your upbringing affect your pork-eating experience? I have pretty â€œliberalâ€ Muslim parents myself, but Iâ€™m pretty sure they would not approve of eating porkâ€¦how do your parents feel about it?
AS: My mom doesnt like the idea of me eating pork, but she recognizes that a superficial change in my life doesn’t make me a different person. She approves of the fact that I’m doing what I love; writing.
SAPNA: Describe in three words how you felt after you had your first bite of pork!
AS: …so that’s pork.
SAPNA: Do you think it was worth it to try porkâ€¦I mean, does it live up to the hype? I know you stated in your blog that you did everything else that is said to be “against Islam,” but did not eat pork, do you ever regret not just letting that one thing be?
AS: Whenever I feel like I’m done with Adventures in Pork, I’ll most likely go back to not eating pork. While I’ve had some tasty pork dishes, I’ve had plenty of stuff that I can’t handle. Because each meal is an experiment, the aim is not necessarily to enjoy it, but to record a reaction. It’s not so easy to break a lifelong habit, and I’m just doing it now to inspire my writing. Once I’m done writing about it, there will be little reason for me to eat it. As far as the question about regret, that’s something I try to minimize in general.
SAPNA: Why did you want to keep a blog of your experiences, did you want to share your thought with readers/open up a new venue for Muslims who are already secretly eating pork too?
AS: I maintain this blog as an outlet for my culinary experiences. How other people live their lives is none of my business. It’s clear on my blog that I’m not promoting the consumption of pork by Muslims. Depending on your perspective, whether you’re a devout Muslim, a life long pork eater, or anything in between, you might find my concept and my writing interesting. Take it as entertainment.
SAPNA: Did you think it would get so much attention? How do you feel about being â€œjudgedâ€ for eating pork? Are you trying to make a statement by eating pork, to other Muslims?
AS: I was hoping it would get some attention and I’m glad to see it did, as I would be to see any of my projects succeed. I understand that some people see it as a provocative idea, and I respect their beliefs regardless of whether or not they respect mine. One of my favorite things about Islam is that it teaches Muslims to find their spirituality individually. I have no intention of influencing any path but my own.
Perhaps in doing so, I’m making it known that there are Muslims in this country who aren’t intensely religious. Despite this, I don’t speak for other liberal Muslims. I represent only my own perspective.
SAPNA: Is there a specific pork dish you think Is absolutely worth trying (for all our readers who might get hungry from reading this interview)?
AS: My personal favorite so far is pork belly. It’s a really textured cut and if it’s marinated and prepared right, it’s an engaging eat.
SAPNA: Whatâ€™s after the â€œAdventures in Pork?” Are you thinking of writing a book or starting new adventures after this?
AS: Right now I’m having fun with it and people are reading it, so I’ll keep doing it. At some point, I’d like to take the adventures one step further and hit the road, maybe visit a pig farm and write about that. If I accumulate enough material, I’d love for it to culminate in a book. I’m cautiously optimistic about that prospect. Whatever the outcome, I’ll continue pursuing ideas that I think will yield the best product, whether it’s writing, music or anything else. Food-wise, I’m interested in foods containing raw meat from culinary traditions around the world. Maybe Adventures in Raw will be my next project in this vein.
Follow Abdullah Saeed and check out his New Adventures in Pork at http://adventuresinpork.blogspot.com.
And on that note, I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™m definitely hungry. Bon appÃ©tit! â€”MUNIA ISLAM